Former Harvard Medical School Employee Accused of Stealing and Selling Body Parts

Anna Garrison - Author

Jun. 15 2023, Published 2:28 p.m. ET

Harvard University Medical School
Source: Getty Images

Former Harvard Medical School morgue manager Cedric Lodge is accused of stealing, selling, and shipping human body parts. A federal indictment against him was filed on June 13, 2023, and also accuses him of conspiring with his wife, Denise, to sell the remains to a network of people between 2018 and early 2023.

Article continues below advertisement

The human remains at Harvard Medical School are donated for medical purposes, then cremated, returned to the donor's family, or buried in Tewksbury, Mass., according to CNN.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about the Harvard Medical School morgue incident investigation explained.

Photograph of a classroom such as those found at Harvard University.
Source: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash
Article continues below advertisement

Former Harvard Medical School morgue manager Cedric Lodge is accused of stealing, selling and shipping human remains.

Unsealed federal documents revealed, on June 14, 2023, an alleged scheme to steal, sell, and ship human remains from the Harvard Medical School morgue to various parties. According to NBC Boston, there are seven accused in the suit, with three being from New England.

Federal agents raided the Lodges' home in March 2023 and arrested the couple on June 14. They also searched Peabody, Mass. business Kat's Creepy Creations in March 2023, owned by one of the alleged buyers, Katrina MacLean.

MacLean and Joshua Taylor were reportedly allowed by Lodge to visit the Harvard Medical School morgue and choose the parts she wanted to purchase, including skin, brains, and bones.

Court documents further reveal that in 2020, MacLean reportedly purchased two dissected faces for $600 and shipped human skin to a defendant in Pennsylvania named Jeremy Pauley. MacLean "engaged his services to tan the skin to create leather," prosecutors say, per The Boston Globe.

Article continues below advertisement
Drawing of a human skeleton such as those found at the Harvard Medical School morgue.
Source: Joyce Hankins/Unsplash

Furthermore, The Guardian reports that Taylor allegedly sent upwards of $37,000 to Denise Lodge for parts her husband stole. One transfer sent to Denise in November 2020 has a memo that read "braiiiiiins." The human remains were sold and shipped through the United States Postal Service.

Article continues below advertisement

Deans of the Harvard Medical School released a statement on June 14 to the community. The statement begins, "It is with profound sadness and distress that we write to share with you that federal authorities have accused a former Harvard Medical School employee of having engaged in activities that are morally reprehensible."

It continues, "Today the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced the indictment and arrest of Cedric Lodge for the unlawful interstate transport of stolen human remains from 'in or about 2018 through on or about August 16, 2022.' Lodge worked in the morgue as part of the Anatomical Gift Program until HMS terminated his employment on May 6."

Article continues below advertisement
Photo of a medical stethoscope.
Source: Marcelo Leal/Unsplash

Soon after the Lodges' arrests, family members of the victims came forward with messages of disbelief. "It's like a dream, you know what I mean? It's like not real, but it is real," said Paula Peltonovich, whose parents' bodies are among those stolen. Peltonovich and her sister, Darlene Lynch, tried twice to call Harvard before discovering their family was affected.

"We didn't get a letter or anything from Harvard," Peltonovich said. "They didn't contact us."

Harvard Medical School has set up resources for donor families and those affected by the harrowing scandal.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania allege that the Lodges, MacLean, Taylor, and Pauley were among several people charged with trafficking stolen remains in a nationwide conspiracy that includes theft from an Arkansas mortuary as well.

More from Green Matters

Latest News News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.